INSIDE M-SPORT
Fast Ford|January 2020
We go behind the scenes at M-Sport’s factory and take a ride in one of the WRC cars built there for an experience to remember!
Dan Trent

For anyone with an interest in fast Fords the factory floor at M-Sport’s Cumbrian headquarters is enough to have you going a little weak at the knees. Accessed through the grand entrance of Dovenby Hall, you walk through the plush hallway of a posh stately home, past wood-paneled dining rooms lined with rallying silverware and then through a door into a very different environment. Here, in a huge, immaculately clean, modern open plan workshop is where rallying dreams come true.

M-Sport is best known for its close links to Ford and status as factory WRC team in all but name. But it also builds Bentley GT3 cars and racing versions of the electric Jaguar iPace for a support series running alongside Formula E. Rallying Fiestas of all types remain the core of the business though.

And from first steps as a privateer or rookie through to the highest levels of the sport M-Sport has the car to support you, and the expertise and resources to support it.

There’s so much to take in it’s hard to know where to start. But the plain yellow R5 Fiesta sitting ready to go on its gold OZs looks as good a place as any. We’re not allowed any photos within the assembly hall so you’ll just have to take it from me – anyone looking for inspiration for a badass conversion for an ST has all the ingredients here, the tarmac spec slamming it to the deck, the wheels filling out the swollen arches and the back end topped off with a big, boomerang-shaped wing.

To the uninitiated, it may look like a Fiesta in a body kit but under the skin these R5 Fiestas – and the new generation version just coming on stream – are as close to bread and butter as M-Sport gets. With four-wheel drive, a sequential ‘box and a healthy 280hp (officially, at least) they cost about as much as a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. But are rather more capable in the mud. Around 300 of them have been sold by M-Sport to privateers and customer teams, the (relatively) cost-controlled regulations for WRC2 keeping a lid on build and running expenses.

A couple of bays further on is the real deal though, team driver Elfyn Evans chatting with the engineers around the in-build Fiesta WRC he’ll be driving in Wales Rally GB after a lay-up with a back injury. His car is basically a shell at the moment, the transition between standard Fiesta and WRC monster clearly visible where the (currently unpainted) carbon aero extensions are bonded onto the existing panel work.

The adjoining workshops are where the real magic happens though. One room is full of lathes and CNC machines busy turning lumps of aluminium billet into suspension uprights or milling out the standard engine blocks that turn regular Ford EcoBoost's into R5 engines. These share fundamentals with road car motors but the WRC engines are next level, inspired by the production engine but built from custom machined billet engine blocks and sealed for the season according to regulations. Costing nearly as much as an entire R5 car, they use a 36mm restrictor, 2.5bar of boost and are limited to 8,500rpm, officially delivering 380hp. Our guide’s sly grin as he shares this stat suggests it may be a rather healthy 380hp.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FAST FORDView All

ONE LOVE

RS Turbos have been a lifelong passion for Adam Bowler. So, when he discovered that this one was riddled with rot and bodges, he couldn’t bring himself to scrap it; instead, he built it into something rather incredible…

6 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

LUCKY NUMBER SIX

A lifelong Ford fan, Simon Tudor always had a soft spot for the Mk6 ST and he now owns one of the best examples you’ll find...

4 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

FIRST CLASS SERVICE

The RS is back at mountune, not for upgrades this time but for its third annual service…

4 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

TRACK HABIT

James Allen has an all-consuming addiction, measured not in tenths of an ounce but in tenths of a second…

6 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

RE-FOCUSING – THE MK FOCUS WRC…

The first WRC Focus made the rallying world take notice of Ford again, the second Focus WRC made them fear the Blue Oval once more…

5 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

SHADOW PLAY

Jamie Kent’s silver dream machine appears at first glance to be a flawless Cosworth converted to WRC body specs. But there’s a whole lot of smoke-and-mirrors going on here…

5 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

INSIDE M-SPORT

We go behind the scenes at M-Sport’s factory and take a ride in one of the WRC cars built there for an experience to remember!

6 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

GONE IN TEN SECONDS…

This stunning Sapphire Cosworth is unlike any other, thanks to a homebuilt 760bhp YB engine and a sequential gearbox that help it cover the quarter mile in just 10.3 seconds...

5 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

FORDS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN…

The Ford Fiesta was and still is, a fantastic car. The Cosworthdeveloped BDA engine was a world-beater. So, what would happen if the two were to meet? We nearly found out…

3 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020

DRIVEN M520 FOCUS RS

Jamie gets to try out mountune’s lairy new power upgrade for the Mk3 Focus RS; the 513bhp m520 MRX version…

5 mins read
Fast Ford
January 2020
RELATED STORIES

The Heartful Innovator

3 WAYS TO OVERCOME MENTAL OBSTACLES.

3 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
September 2021

FORD HIRES EXEC FORMERLY IN CHARGE OF APPLE'S CAR PROJECT

Ford Motor Co. has hired a former executive from Apple and Tesla to be the company’s head of advanced technology and new embedded systems, a critical post as the auto industry moves to adopt vehicles powered by electricity and guided by computers.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #515

SERIOUS STOPPING

We add a hydro boost power brake system to our early Bronco

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
October 2021

2021 FORD BRONCO

Committed and “all-in,” Ford flexes its muscles with new Bronco lineup

9 mins read
Four Wheeler
October 2021

FIVE DECADE SLUMBER

Built in the ’30s. Forgotten in the ’50s. How a barn find 1933 Ford was resurrected as the Devil’s Coupe.

5 mins read
Hot Rod
October 2021

THE FIVE BEST HYBRID SUVS YOU CAN BUY

Buying a hybrid vehicle is typically a smart way to help save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint compared to a conventional gasoline-only vehicle.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #510

FORD OVERCOMES COMPUTER CHIP SHORTAGE, POSTS SURPRISE PROFIT

Sky-high sales prices for its pickup trucks and SUVs helped Ford Motor Co. turn a surprise second-quarter profit despite a global shortage of computer chips that cut factory output in half.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #509

FORD, ARGO AI TO DEPLOY AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES ON LYFT NETWORK

Ford Motor Co. and a self-driving vehicle company it partly owns will join with the Lyft ride-hailing service to offer autonomous rides on the Lyft network.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #508

Shelter 3

Third time is not the charm

1 min read
Mac Life
August 2021

WOLF IN FOX CLOTHING

This 1993 Mustang LX Was Reborn From the Wreckage of an Eighth-Mile Mistake

5 mins read
Hot Rod
July 2021